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‘GIS can help India tackle malnutrition issue’

New Delhi, India: Malnutrition is one of the major issues India has been grappling with for several years. According to a HUNGaMA (hunger and malnutrition) Survey Report 2011, 42 percent of children in India are underweight and 58 percent are stunted by the age of 2 years. Analysing the HUNGaMA report, The Hindu, observed that GIS technology can be used to provide solutions to end this chronic hunger. It explained that GIS can be used to monitor the performance of government related schemes to fight malnutrition. Colour coded GIS maps can pinpoint the situation on the ground, down to the nutritional status of individual children in Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres, ensuring the possibilities of rapid responses.
The Government of India (GoI) has deployed several programmes like ICDS, the National Rural Health Mission and the Total Sanitation Campaign to address the issues of malnutrition in the country. However, many a times, politicians implement the same programmes which have not resulted in any tangible improvement. As a result, a GIS database of such programmes becomes necessary to implement effective schemes in future. 
The report further observed that three key elements should be kept in mind to tackle malnutrition and to make government-aided schemes successful. These are ‘coordination, convergence and monitoring’. There should be an effective coordination and convergence between the government and various NGOs tackling the problem of malnutrition. Along with this, there should be a system for monitoring the performance of various programmes developed for addressing the problem of malnutrition. This can be achieved through GIS and other modern technology. 
The Hindu report also suggested that by following “life cycle” approach malnutrition in children can be tackled in a better manner. The “life cycle” approach starts before pregnancy and then addresses all stages of development of the child. 
Source: The Hindu